Greetings from Belarodo!
Our journey from Santa Domingo took us along the highway through gently rolling hills vaguely similar to scenes of the Blue Ridge back home. However, there was one primary difference; the day was marked by the most persistent and strong headwind I have ever witnessed. I suppose I rarely strike out in the same direction for hours at a time, but even so, the wind was mostly ridiculous. I felt as though I was on a beach as a hurricane approached, but there were no waves or storm in sight. The persistent wind chilled us to the bone and hampered our progress. On the bright side, at least it was not raining. I think I would have insisted on taking another rest day if it was. Occasionally truckers on the parallel highway, sympathizing with our predicament of walking against the wind, would wave to us or blow an encouraging kiss.
The wind was so loud, it felt impossible to hear yourself think, let alone hold a conversation. When I was able to compose thoughts other than “I want hot soup and blankets and this wind to stop”, I found myself reflecting on yesterday evening´s activity of visiting the church/cathedral of San Domingo, complete with live chickens, and becoming wholly absorbed in the Mother Teresa exhibit next door included in our ticket fare.
The exhibit walked us through poster boards about her life and finished with a movie which intertwined her messageswith news coverage of her death and funeral.
Before entering the exhibit, all I knew about Mother Teresa was that she was a missionary in India who washed lepers and helped the poor, and that she might one day be saint. However, the exhibit impressed upon us her extraordinary faith and bravery in taking up her mission.
One of the points that struck me was her staunch avocation for adoption instead of abortion. She claimed that abortion was the number one destroyer of peace in today’s world. As a person who had witnessed such unfathomable human suffering and agony as found in the slums of Calcutta, I found her optimism about the future and the value of human life, even in poverty, nothing short of amazing. How beautiful was her faith in the good of humanity and the Earth!
The exhibit also had me feeling uneasy about a previous conversation we had had with Irish Jim all the way back in Zubiri on day 2. He mentioned that his son worked in India, but he was hesitant to visit, as the poverty would be too much to bare. I was willing to agree with him. But upon further reflection, this view seems juvenile. Mother Teresa also said that it doesn´t matter what you do, as long as you do it with. I am not prepared to walk into the slums quite yet, but I can try to work towards living with loving intention. Though this bitter cold wind was certainly making it hard today!